Retiree creates inner city garden to feed neighbors

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 8:30 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One Jackson woman is on a mission to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to her neighbors, taking on the task by buying an overgrown lot on her street and planting a garden. The retiree is now feeding the elderly and other residents and hoping to inspire the start of more gardens in the inner city.

“The Lord just said Norma start a garden,” said Norma Michael.

In 2020, across the street from Michael’s Powers Avenue home was a lot owned by the state that sat empty for more than 20 years. She purchased it for less than $500 with a vision.

“When I got the property, I was like, well, this will be a mighty big garden for just me,” said Michael. “So I said, ‘Well, I’ll share it with my neighbors.’”

The Air Force vet and retiree had no experience planting, and after clearing the lot and much hard work, it’s now the “Sharing is Caring Neighborhood Block Garden.” In it are rows and rows of corn, tomatoes, greens, beans, melons, strawberries, and more.

“I come out here. I tend the garden,” said Michael. “I have one neighbor that helps me to plant things, and I come out in the mornings, and I water and harvest, and then I offer the harvest to my neighbors.”

Ninety-one-year-old Clara Triggs lives just a few doors down from the garden.

“She brings me so many things, and everything she brings is my favorite,” said Triggs.

The 43-year Powers Avenue resident receives regular gifts from the garden and believes it’s Michael’s ministry.

“This is a blessing for this community, you know, in times like this,” said Triggs. “I wish more people could learn to do things like that. You don’t know what joy that it brings to the people.”

A joy that Michael’s thinks should spread throughout the city.

“I believe that in each block, there is a plot of land that is not being used,” added Michael. “I encourage people to look into the lot, and we can feed each other as a community one block at a time. We can.”

If you would like to learn about starting your own neighborhood garden or you want to donate, contact Norma Michael at eulajoseph@yahoo.com.

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